Fish crudo is a simple Italian preparation of raw fish. With only a few ingredients, it takes no time to prepare, but the result is elegant and wonderfully delicious. Perfect as an appetizer for a special occasion, or just because.
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If you're a regular here, you may have noticed I do quite like my raw seafood dishes. I know for some people, the thought of eating raw fish is far from appealing. But for me, I found it wonderfully light and a great way to appreciate delicate flavors. Plus, if you're making it at home, so incredibly easy.
In our regular home, we are blessed with two fantastic fish markets just a few blocks from our home. This made getting the key ingredient for raw dishes a lot easier: incredibly fresh, good quality seafood.
I really can't emphasize enough how important the quality is to this, not just for flavor but for food safety. You always have a slight risk easting uncooked food, so a high quality source is very important.
What's the difference between crudo and sashimi?
It would offend many an Italian if you called this Italian sashimi. Because while yes, the principle ingredient is raw fish, pesce crudo (literally "raw fish") is also about the other ingredients.
What makes crudo different is that the raw fish is dressed with extra virgin olive oil and citrus juice. Those other ingredients really matter, so this isn't the time to use a cheap oil or bottled juice. Use your best oil and freshly squeezed juice.
Which citrus you use depends a little on taste and a little what feels like the better pairing. For many white fish, lemon is a natural fit, but scallops pair really well with grapefruit.
If you use citrus, isn't this like ceviche?
Yes, ceviche uses citrus juice as well (typically lime), but with a couple key differences. The first is quantity - ceviche typically uses more juice - but most importantly with ceviche, you leave the fish to sit in the citrus juice to marinade. You will see a change in color as the acid gets to work and 'cures' the fish.
With this, however, the citrus is added right before serving more as a dressing. It's closer in that way to tuna tataki or tiradito. The difference between the three is the other flavors - here it is extra virgin olive oil.
One of the wonderful things about dishes like this is that they take only a few minutes to prepare, but they have that simple elegance that makes them feel like something you'd get in a restaurant. But with only a few ingredients and very little prep, it's all the more important to use good quality ingredients.
Get the freshest fish you can find and use really good olive oil.
It's worth finding a good fish monger for this, tell them what you are planning and asking them what they recommend. You can use a whole range of fish for this so go with what's good and fresh. I've used rockling here, but many other white fish would work well like snapper, bream, hake or cod.
You can also use tuna, salmon or scallops, though I particularly had white fish in mind with the additional ingredients. Scallops, for example, I think would be better with grapefruit rather than lemon. And salmon probably needs something a little punchier on the side like some capers. Have a play around and find you favorite.
See how it comes together in the short video!
Fish crudo is an incredibly easy dish to prepare with only a few ingredients. But the result is something truly special and restaurant-worthy, perfect for special occasions and more.
Try these other raw dishes:
- Beef carpaccio
- Salmon tartare
- Scallop ceviche
- Plus get more appetizer recipes in the archives, including others perfect for a special meal like oysters Kilpatrick.
- 4 oz white fish 60g, as a chunk, ideally even in shape - I used rockling, both hake, bream etc also good
- 1 tbsp lemon juice
- ½ tbsp extra virgin olive oil or a little more, to taste
- 1 tsp lemon zest
- ⅛ tsp flaked sea salt
- 2 mint leaves approx, or more if small
- 1 tsp microgreens approx, to decorate
- Place the wrapped fish in the freezer for approximately 10 minutes to help it firm up.
- With a sharp knife, thinly slice the fish and place on two plates with the slices slightly overlapping each other.
- Drizzle over the lemon juice and olive oil. Grate the lemon zest evenly over the top and the top with either small mint leaves or torn pieces of larger leaves. Decorate with a few microgreens then serve.
See some of my favorite cooking tools and ingredients in the Caroline's Cooking Amazon store.